Tag Archives: spiritual direction

Refresh: 19 Ways to Boost Your Spiritual Life

Review: Refresh, by Ron Hughes

Refresh: 19 Ways to Boost Your Spiritual LifeRefresh: 19 Ways to Boost Your Spiritual Life, by Ron Hughes (Gospel Folio Press, 2011)

Who doesn’t need a bit of spiritual refreshment from time to time? Ron Hughes’ slender book, Refresh, offers simple and practical ways to deepen and grow our spiritual lives.

The author is quick to admit that he hasn’t “arrived” yet, but these practices continue to help him and can help us too. Each section can be read in a single sitting. They open with “A Story to Start” (as told by a Biblical character), followed by Biblical background, exploration and application, potential pitfalls, and “A Word of Encouragement.”

Topics include solitude, confession, service, simplicity, rest, and more. I found them easy to read and process, yet with scope for a lifetime’s practice. Refresh is a book to re-read over the years, because its truths aren’t meant for a one-shot benefit/attempt. It’s not a formula for do-it-yourself spiritual growth, but operates on the principle that “God works in us when we actively share in the process.”

Canadian author Ron Hughes is president of the Ontario-based Christian media ministry, FBH International. Refresh can be ordered from the FBH website and there’s a free downloadable workbook for individual and group use. You can read an excerpt from Refresh (a fictional account from the prodigal son’s father).

Refresh can also be ordered through Amazon.ca and through your local Christian bookstore.

[Review copy from my personal library. This review originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Faith Today.]

Listening to God

As I packed for a spiritual retreat last weekend [two weekends past, now], a thought hit me: you can count on hearing God at a retreat because you’ve reduced the distractions, but it’s also because you’re listening. You’re anticipating. You expect to hear him.

Pop on over to the InScribe Writers Online blog if you want to read more about “Listening to God“.

Listening to Our Shepherd

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28, NIV*

Today my congregation is doing something new. Individuals have set aside extra time throughout the day to seek God’s direction for our church, and we’ll gather this evening to share what we’ve each heard.

I’m really excited about this, and I hope we’ll do it regularly, maybe once a quarter. As a body, we’ve spent too long letting the leadership listen for us. The problem then is that we have less motivation to follow what’s heard.

“Was it really God, or is that a human idea? I don’t like it, so it must not be God.”

The business world talks about “ownership” and it’s true that if the whole group has input there’s more commitment. In the church, it’s also true that God speaks to each of us. I think as we each learn to hear His voice and share what He gives us, we’ll end up with a richer, clearer picture of where to go.

Father, give us ears, hearts and spirits to hear You. Protect us from other voices. Help the church—local and global—help us as individuals—to grow up into Christ.

Todd Agnew’s song, “Shepherd” is really about people who’ve done their own thing and strayed way off-course. I don’t believe that’s true of my congregation at this point. We’ve been trying to be obedient, but we definitely need to hear—and follow—God. The chorus of this song is my prayer today.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.